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Which workout you should do based on your current mood

Anya Meyerowitz
·6-min read
Photo credit: Oscar Wong
Photo credit: Oscar Wong

Whether you work out regularly or not, it's likely that at some point you've said the phrase: 'I'm just not in the mood to exercise.'

No matter how much you love your exercise routine, sometimes our mood dictates whether or not we'll end up actually doing it or not. But what about if we stopped trying to change our mood to suit our exercise, and instead changed our exercise to suit our mood?

'I believe it is important to match your exercise class to your current mood so that you can achieve the best results within your capabilities or expectations on that particular day,' says Olivia Brierley, founder of Mindfulsoul Pilates and the Mindfulsoul Movement Library. 'There is so much information out there on different types of exercises to do that will benefit the mind and body but not much information on what class is right for your mood.'

She tells us: 'We have seen a huge growth in people investing in health and wellbeing since the pandemic. For many creating a consistent exercise routine has been vital. Often a high intensity workout is a popular go-to exercise but sometimes hitting the pause button on these types of classes or opting for a low impact workout style to suit your mood might be better.'

Below, she talks us through which exercise to opt for when you want to move your body, but your mind isn't playing ball.

Lethargic

If you are feeling lethargic then a 20-minute energy boosting Pilates class can help to boost your overall energy levels while being introduced to the benefits of Pilates. When we are feeling tired, lethargic, getting ourselves motivated for a workout can be hard. That is why a 20-minute low intensity Pilates sequence is perfect.

Opting for a low impact workout gives you that short, sharp energy boost to help get you through your day or evening. If you are feeling lethargic then slow, controlled movements will help you to recharge. Practicing Pilates will relieve a compressed, tense body, create awareness, leaving the body with more length and energy. This can help to release stress, relieve tension and improve energy levels.

Stressed

If you are feeling stressed, meditation is a great exercise to practice. Meditation is all about hitting the pause button when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Finding a class that talks about slowing down and seeking out when to take a break from whatever it is that might be causing us stress.

Knowing that even just one minute or ten minutes out of your day to focus on the breath can help. Meditation can help to produce a deep state of relaxation. Focusing on the breath and finding stillness can reduce busy brains and crowded thought patterns reducing stress levels. Listening inward and practicing intuitive movement can improve your overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Energetic

If you are feeling energetic then I would suggest a dynamic flow incorporating power, balance and precision. A Pilates power flow is still a low impact workout. If you are feeling energetic then a stronger flow will help you to engage those deep, smaller muscle groups that might not have been targeted in a while.

Engaging with a movement chain in the body to help cleanse the nervous system and match that energetic mood. A healthy nervous system helps release stress and engage with those mood-boosting hormones.

Menstrual

Feelings associated with the menstrual cycle are tiredness, cramps and low energy. I would suggest a bolster related class. Start the class off by lifting the legs and propping them up with a bolster.

This helps to release any tension in the lower back. Followed by some deep belly breathing to increase blood flow and reduce any aches and pains. After breath work, I would suggest spending the rest of the class resting on the bolster with your legs up against a wall taking a few different movement patterns with the lower body. Having your legs up on the bolster elevates your pelvis, fluids that cause swollen ankles and congested pelvic organs flow into the lower belly. Giving the legs and reproductive area a much needed refresh. This type of class will bring the body to a state of relaxation. Exploring different parts of the pelvic floor, allowing you to notice different sensations in the body. Inviting you to use your breath to make space and to help calm the nervous system down. Perfect if you are menstrual!

Anxious

A class that primes and tones your nervous system is perfect when you are feeling anxious. This practice can be done at any time throughout the week. Bringing your body to a state of calm with this gentle class, allowing you to develop a mind body connection. I would suggest starting by rubbing the hands together and placing them on the front of the throat.

This warm, nourishing feeling helps to calm the body down – the nervous system responds to feel good moments. Then move down the body and start with some tapping of the collarbones to release feelings of anxiety. All of the above techniques with some slow stretches will help to sooth and calm an anxious mind.

Breathing deeply helps you to remain calm and grounded when you are under stress. Becoming aware of the rhythm of your inhales and exhales. Noticing where you feel the sensations through the body. Either warmth, cool, fullness or tension as the breath enters and exits the body.

Learning a few breathing techniques such as deep belly breathing, side lung breathing, counting breathing and holding the breath are really useful when you are feeling anxious. Short techniques that you can use at home or work when you feel like your anxiety is creeping in.

Mindful

When we are feeling mindful it often means we are very aware of our bodies, our thoughts and feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. Therefore, it is time to tune into a mindful flow, practicing intuitive movement and being in the present moment. Really understanding what each move does to the mind and body and exploring how it makes us feel when we do. If we are feeling slow and achy, mindful movement can help us tap into our bodies and move at a slower pace which is so beneficial and we can match our mood to our movement.

The Mindfulsoul Movement Library aims to promote intuitive movement. Listening inward to how the body is feeling that day and then choosing your class accordingly. Taking off the pressure and engaging in a class that feels right for you.

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